Breaking down the permanently temporary 2021 US economy

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Twenty-one months after the country’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus, the U.S. economy remains rocked by conflicting forces, with businesses and households struggling to adjust to what many hoped would be a temporary disruption.

Uncertainty obscures the path forward. Backlogged supply chains have left ships – and the imports they carry – stuck outside key U.S. ports. Inflation has driven up the cost of everyday items and prices aren’t easing. Restaurant reservations have seesawed for months, bobbing up and down as Americans consider whether they feel safe amid the ongoing pandemic.

Meanwhile, the labor market has whipsawed millions of Americans through layoffs and then rehirings, with millions caught in between. Wages are up, and people are switching jobs are a record rate. And while growth for the year is still projected to approach 6%, White House and Federal Reserve officials underestimated the economic disruption that would persist…

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